FALKIRK manager Peter Houston hopes the closing of the transfer window will help take the pressure off in-demand teenager Tony Gallacher.
Gallacher saw his name linked with a £750,000 move away from the Bairns ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, with even Catalan giants Barcelona credited with an interest in the talented 17-year-old.
With Celtic, Rangers, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City amongst the others apparently tracking the left-back’s progress, Gallacher has attracted attention from some massive clubs, despite playing just eight first-team matches.
However, with Sunderland manager David Moyes in attendance, the youngster was left on the bench for last weekend’s 2-1 win away to St Mirren after starting the previous six games in a row.
And Houston admits the move was partly designed to help protect the highly-rated defender from the glare of publicity he has attracted of late.
Houston said: “Tony’s just a boy and Luke Leahy was ready to come back as well.
“I’ve said all along that part of the job is knowing when to put kids in and when to take them out.
“I felt that it was time for Tony, who had done well in his seven games when the team hadn’t played well, to come out of it.
“Tony will continue to develop. He played with the under-20s on Monday night and his time will come again.
“At this present time, he’s a good prospect, nothing more than that.
“Me taking him out of the team takes the pressure off after the amount of stuff that has been written about him as well.
“No matter what is said, I’ve still got to protect the boy and I think the best thing was to take him back out of the limelight – and that’s what I’ve done.”
Meanwhile, with a huge derby against Dunfermline on Saturday, Houston is hopeful Falkirk are hitting top form again at the perfect moment.
With Saturday’s win at St Mirren just their second in their last eight matches, Houston added: “It was a terrific team performance and as good a team performance as we’ve had all season. We were back to our old selves in many ways.
“It’s given the boys a bit of confidence and we’re looking forward to the derby and the kind of atmosphere it will bring because the supporters of both clubs like to put on a good atmosphere.”